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MATTER CONDEMNATION BY CITY PITTSBURGH CERTAIN LAND CITY PITTSBURGH (09/25/87)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: September 25, 1987.

IN THE MATTER OF: CONDEMNATION BY THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH OF CERTAIN LAND IN THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, BEING PROPERTY OF: HILDAGARDE H. WALKER, OR ANY OTHER PERSONS FOUND TO HAVE AN INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY. CITY OF PITTSBURGH, APPELLANT

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in case of In The Matter of: Condemnation by the City of Pittsburgh of certain land in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, being property of: Hildagarde H. Walker, or any other persons found to have an interest in the property v. City of Pittsburgh, No. GD 84-17761.

COUNSEL

Marion E. Popiel, for appellant.

No appearance for appellee.

Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 546]

The City of Pittsburgh (Appellant) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County (trial court) which transferred the above-captioned matter to an arbitration panel. We reverse.

This eminent domain proceeding involves the condemnation and taking by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh of certain property located in the city. The matter was heard by a board of viewers which made an award of damages in the amount of $10,700 to the owner, Hildagarde H. Walker. Appellant filed a timely appeal demanding a jury trial. The trial court entered an order transferring the case to a panel of arbitrators for hearing.

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 547]

The Appellant in its appeal from the trial court's order, contends that under the Allegheny County Local Rules of Court, the trial court had no authority to transfer this matter to a panel of arbitrators for hearing. We agree.

Section 515 of the Eminent Domain Code, Act of June 22, 1964, Special Sess., P.L. 84, as amended, 26 P.S. ยง 1-515 (Code), provides that any party aggrieved by the decision of a board of viewers may appeal to the court of common pleas. The issue then becomes whether the court of common pleas may, when it has before it an appeal from a board of view, order the matter heard by a panel of arbitrators.

The trial court relies on Allegheny County Local Rule 212 VIII which provides that matters which do not involve questions of title to lands or tenements shall be transferred to the jurisdiction of arbitrators where the amount in actual controversy does not exceed jurisdictional limits. However, Allegheny County Local Rule 613(j), regarding appeals in eminent domain proceedings, states: "On appeal from viewers the following local pre-trial procedure rules shall not be applicable: . . . Rule 212 VIII relating to transfer to arbitrators."*fn1

Rule 613(j) is plain and clear. Appeals from a board of viewers are not to be transferred to the jurisdiction of

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 548]

    arbitrators but must be heard on appeal directly by the court of common pleas.*fn2

Accordingly, we reverse the order of the trial court.*fn3

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 549]

Order

And Now, September 25, 1987, the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County transferring the above-captioned matter to arbitration is reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Jurisdiction relinquished.

Disposition

Reversed and remanded.


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